Coconut Telefax 12/24/18
Harbour House Aruba and the Revival of Waf Chiquito
The former Mar Azul Condominiums and the Mar Azul Marina Mall, the massive abandoned development on Weststraat, recently found redemption under its new name, Harbour House Apartments and the Harbor Stores. (See photo above.)
The complex has also undergone a clever repositioning. Instead of facing Weststraat as its main mall entrance, the new layout calls for major shopping and dining on the ocean side, with a spacious promenade showcasing the beauty of the Oranjestad harbor.
Developer Albert Perret Gentil, Blue & Azul Condominiums, credits his brother with the brilliant idea to place the parking garage under the building and elevate the infinity pool for a more functional and dramatic use of the space.
With the project fully facing the water, seven harbor shops will be available for rent to reputable and experienced high-end F&B or retail experts. While Perret-Gentil believes it will take a while to find synergy, he is confident that Weststraat, once a swinging neighborhood, will find a successful formula, perhaps a la Wynwood, Miami, and he relies on the owners of neighboring real estate to come together for a comprehensive urban revival plan of the area.
Harbour House offers 96 units, from studios to four-bedroom residences, up seven stories, as well as on-site parking, 24-hour security, boat service to beach, a top-floor solarium with hot tub, food & beverage, a swanky lobby, a fitness center, and the rooftop with 360-degree views of the island.
Best of all, you’re welcome to move in, in 2020.
Perret Gentil remarks that an eclectic group of architects, designers, and engineers were required to transform the unfortunately bankrupt prime piece of downtown real estate, but it’s done. And we should be proud of the rescue plan, breathing new life into the once popular Waf Chiquito.
The Tropicana Becomes EAGLE ARUBA RESORT & CASINO
General Manager Richard Roy reported recently that the company name “Tropicana Entertainment” was sold in October 2018 in the USA, and that the resort in Aruba was allowed to continue to use the name for six months, but has chosen to change to EAGLE ARUBA RESORT & CASINO early in order to start the new year with a fresh name, logo, and identity.
While the name changed, the ownership has remained the same, and business, according to the GM, is pacing better for the spring of 2019 than spring 2018. Keep in mind that 2018 was a banner year, simply fantastic.
The most recent phase of construction of 100 rooms just wrapped up December 15. With the contractor on vacation until January 10, work will resume on the next block of rooms when vacation is over. Ownership has invested 19 million dollars in renovations so far, and the next phase will represent another 9 million, bringing the total investment up to 28 million.
Richard Roy reports that his guests consist of timeshare owners and transient travelers who love the resort’s Eagle Beach location and the comfort of the spacious, full-kitchen vacation villas. If they don’t wish to cook, the Double Down Sports Bar & Grill at the casino offers all-day dining and gaming, and Uncle Tony’s Pizza is a fun spot to grab a bite on the pool deck.
“We want to assure our guests and our 250 employees that we will look after their interest and deliver, as always, excellence in hospitality, fun in gaming, and consistent value,” he adds.
Luna Pet Food Drive
Luna Foundation was created to help everyone here on the island with their pets, to educate and assist in caring for animals. The organization is a 501C3 nonprofit.
Recently it conducted a pet food drive at Ling & Sons supermarket and enjoyed a positive response from the community. They collected dry adult dog food, dry and wet puppy food, dry cat food, and feeding bowls from 8 am until 8 pm.
Call +297-563-6567 for more information. http://www.luna-aruba.com
The owners of Casablanca Jewelers at La Hacienda Mall just inaugurated a swanky, stylish lounge, Captain’s Cove, next door to the store, perched above an incredibly stocked and beautifully designed stock liquor store, Captain Jack’s.
The lounge is elegantly appointed and can accommodate up to 22 friends wishing to sip fine tequila, rare whiskey, premium rum and leading vodkas, in many rare and exotic varieties.
The lounge offers some nibbles, mostly from the adjacent Texas de Brazil, and provides a unique ambiance with gracious service. The store has a wide selection of cigars; you are invited to step into the humidifier for a first-class cigar-purchasing experience.
La Hacienda Mall, High Rise Hotel Strip, Aruba, +297-594-5678.
Aruba Fashion Week 2018
The first fashion show of #AFW18 kicked off successfully in a lovely setting, facing the downtown marina, on the boardwalk, in Oranjestad.
Thanks to the initiative of organizer Angel Leon and many generous sponsors, we get credit that as a tiny island we are capable of staging a fashion week, which puts us in the same Champagne bucket as Amsterdam or New York.
That first Friday night was well attended, and the brands presented included Colombian PDHS, Pineapples Don’t Have Sleeves, Venezuelan-made Pati’ya Swimwear, and Brazilian-made Carmen Steffens designs, which were warmly received.
Then a group of totally unknown fashion designers from Aruba took over the runway: Mirzah Manga (@chillymanga), Javan Croes (@javancroes), Azra Groenewegen (@amourazra), Mims Angel Ras (@mimzzlightyear), and D’Andre Maxwell (@auadancer), who dances and designs.
The aspiring designers were invited to show off some of their creations, and on the third night, @mimzzlightyear was pronounced the winner, invited to present an entire collection in #AFW19. The judges said he had solid fashion ideas and a sustainable talent.
#AFW18’s second day, on Saturday night, featured Colombian-made Bahamamama fashions, the designs of Venezuelan-born Andrea Grados, Similares workout clothes, the popular Agua Bendita, and Morena Valley from the USA.
On the third night, Sunday, the program included fashions by 32-year-old Colombian-Venezuelan Daniella Battle; pieces by the 30-year design veteran Olga Bolaños; sexy and bold La Bella Mafia fashions with bikinis and fitness outfits; and fashions by the dazzling Dominican-born Giannina Azar, who is a worldwide force in the Latin fashion industry. That was a dazzling experience.
We sipped Prosecco as we admired all 14 brands, 18 trunk shows, 18 runway queens, gorgeous models from Aruba, and 12 international designers. The food court, sushi, and the entertainment were also fabulous.
Setar Presents the Totally Renovated Downtown Branch
SETAR, Servicio di Telecommunication di Aruba, is an incorporated entity with the Government of Aruba as sole shareholder, and it has been serving Aruba’s telecommunication needs, as its name implies, since 1986, when the two earlier companies, Landradio and Telefoondienst, were merged into one.
In 2003 the company incorporated, becoming an NV, and a lot has happened since then. Recently, Setar reopened its improved and revamped downtown teleshop adjacent to the post office, and you can pay your bills there at a self-service kiosk or purchase a new phone. Telecom, TV, and Internet in a modern and user-friendly one-stop shop.
Monday-Saturday, 9am – 5:30 pm
Irausquin Plein z/n
A Workshop for Kids and Parents at Kooyman Aruba
The popular local retailer in the domain of building materials, hardware, and home improvement hosted three kids’ workshops in December encouraging parents to teach kids the art of DIY. On three consecutive Saturdays, Kooyman enjoyed a surge of creativity as guests expressed themselves through painting and decorating.
In October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the shop hosted a big event for 300 female clients and donated Awg 1,500 to Fundashon Sinta Ros, the Pink Ribbon Foundation, hoping this contribution helps the foundation in its ongoing battle against cancer.
GRUPO DI BETICO Celebrates Golden Anniversary
Grupo di Betico is a family ensemble with deeply rooted Aruban musical and cultural ties. They have been promoting the family’s musical heritage for decades while headquartered in Santa Cruz, in the home of Francisco “Panchico” Croes and Maria Luia “Mimita” Croes Lopez.
All kids growing up around that home and neighborhood played musical instruments and sang.
In 1959, when teacher Betico Croes returned to Aruba after finishing his studies in the Netherlands, he livened things up at home with his charisma and the infectious sound of his accordion, especially around the end-of-the-year celebrations. At that time, all family members pitched in, offering their extended social circle a joyful musical greeting and blessings for the new year in the form of Aruba’s much-loved Dande.
In 1968, brothers Rudy and Tommy returned from school, and before long, Betico and his group, which is their name now, counted on siblings Rudy, Aiky, Tommy, Efrain, Hendrik, Adison, Chichia, Mary, and Didi, plus uncles and cousins, to support and contribute to the merriment.
In 1986, with Betico’s tragic passing, the musical group changed its name to Grupo di Betico and continued to dedicate time to folklore and culture, as was Betico’s wish for them and his legacy.
As the years went by, the group benefited greatly from the musical leadership of the late Hildward Croes, Maiky & Ada’s son, who pursued music professionally and gave the group many of its hits. Musical giant Gus Oduber is now the band leader, and he often recruits outside talent to arrange and direct. You should know that three original members are still playing—that’s 50 years of music. Three members today are not blood relatives, but feel like family.
In the last five years, the group has been active year-round, not just for the end-of-the-year celebrations. Recently the group hosted a Golden Anniversary Concert. They sold 1,400 tickets for a first-time marriage of a folkloric group with a classic orchestra—that means violin, viola, and cello—and played 25 of the group’s most popular songs. The list of performers who supported this musical effort sounds like the Who’s Who of the island, and it was immensely enjoyed.